What is Snow Golfing ?

Who was the first person to think of playing golf in the snow ? What exactly does it mean? How do you play the game? Here is a little summary of this unknown sport…


The English writer Rudyard Kipling, (30th Dec 1865 to 18th Jan 1936) author of the ‘Jungle book’ (1894) and youngest Nobel literature prize winner in 1907, invented snow golfing.

Rudyard Kipling didn’t only like literature, he also had a passion for sport and was a visionary: with the help of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes), he was the first person to play his favourite sport: snow golf. During the long winter months that he spent at ‘Naulakha’ in Vermont, USA, he used to play with red golf balls and cans.

It is difficult to know whether this is the truth or if it is a legend. As there is evidence that proves that experienced golfers throughout Scotland and England already had a go at snow golfing two centuries before Kipling was born.

There are different versions of Snow Golfing, notably in Alaska where they play golf on frozen lakes, especially in the Matanuska Valley. We are talking « 10 per cent » here. This game came be played with an undetermined number of players, this is how it goes : a golfer hits the ball any where, where ever the ball lands, is where the target is. Each player tries to get as close as possible to the target with in range of 10%. If for example the target ball is 30 metres away, the aim is to get your ball with in 3 meters maximum of the target. If nobody gets this aim, then it is the ball that is farthest away which becomes the new target.

When playing golf on a lake, which takes place in the Talkeentna mountains, the aim is to get what ever device that is on the ice into a circle drawn on the ground. In this game, the players wear ice skates.

In Switzerland, Snow golfing as we know it today, is called « Winter Golfing » and exists since 1979. With the Engadine Golf Tournament at Silvaplana, originally at St Moritz, up until 1996, over 2000 golfers, both men and women have taken part in this tournament.

Winter golfing has also existed for a long time in Canada, played with snowshoes or skis, coloured golf balls or big rubber balls, the latter sinking less into the powder snow. Here the game is manly a target approach.

Concerning the 8th Snow Golf trophy organized by Square partners there is no need for ice skates, or skis, all you need are some warm clothes, sunglasses to avoid being dazzled, coloured golf balls and special tees that we give to you and above all…..you need snow!!